A Petal, Miss., native used his medical training to revive a drowned Afghan toddler while conducting counterinsurgency operations Sept. 11.
The day started out as a normal day in Afghanistan for Seaman Apprentice Byron McGill, a Navy corpsman from Petal serving with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. He checked his gear, as well as the physical condition of the Marines he cares for, and they stepped off on a patrol. It seemed no different than the many they’d conducted prior to this day.
The Marines patrolled en route to a local resident’s compound where they were going to ask questions about enemy activity in the area. The point man, which directs the routes of each patrol, was leading the squad and came upon a scene which frightened him.
Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Palacios, a Miami, Fla., native and an infantry point man with Charlie Company, said he was overcome with disbelief when he saw a child floating in the canal next to a compound.
The child was not moving when he pulled her out of the canal. He began screaming for McGill. “I personally thought she was dead,” Palacios added.
McGill rushed to provide aid in a matter of seconds. Unaware of what his fellow service member was yelling about, he was disturbed by the scene he came upon. Palacios, who is also a team leader with his squad, handed off the child and set up his Marines to form a security bubble to give McGill the safety and area he needed to work on the unexpected patient.